tonight on "nightline," coming home. the last u.s. troops have now left iraq, but with a government there already in turmoil and a rash of new violence, was it all worth it? spidey 2.0. spider-man on broadway once plagued by accidents and terrible review, now it's a runaway hit. u2's bono and the edge have the last laugh. dirt, cheer, glory. with mom's cheers in their ears, these buckaroos saddle up. tonight we go mutton busting.
good evening, i'm terry moran. we're going to start in iraq tonight. many military families around the nation got a holiday gift they could hardly have imagined a few years ago, their loved ones finally home from the battlefield in iraq but amidst all the celebrations there is tension. that's because iraq is still facing widespread strife, a spate of sectarian violence tearing the country apart including another suicide bombing in baghdad today and an increasingly fragile government there. our martha raddatz was there when the last troops left iraq and she brings us the very latest. >> reporter: they could be scenes from the height of the u.s. war in iraq. at least a dozen explosions tearing across baghdad in the last few days, car bombs and improvised explosive devices
targeting schools, markets and today the interior ministry leaving more than 60 dead and hundreds wounded. and in the halls of power, a different kind of crisis, the shiite dominated government issuing an arrest warrant for the sunni vice president, accusing him of ordering attacks on government officials and police officers. this burst of sectarian unrest and violence comes just days after this. >> going home. >> reporter: the picture-perfect ending to what the u.s. military called "operation new dawn," more than 100 massive u.s. military vehicles roaring over the border from iraq, the last american servicemen and women to complete the pullout. >> outstanding. >> going home. >> we made it. whoo! >> reporter: for both the u.s. and the iraqis this war, one of
the most controversial in modern history, seemingly had many endings. the statue of saddam hussein tumbling. the brutal dictator himself turned to disheveled fugitive captured and executed. that premature pronouncement of victory. >> major combat operations in iraq have ended. >> reporter: yet the war continued after each of those milestones, $800 billion, nearly 4,500 u.s. lives, more than 30,000 americans wounded and more than 100,000 iraqi lives. which is why the final march out seemed so surreal. the 500 soldiers on the last convoy gathered at camp adder in southern iraq early this month to make final preparations for the ride out. at the very front of this last convoy, there will be root
with problems. performers were seriously injured, and reviews were just dreadful. but now the most expensive show in broadway history may be this season's most surprising hit. cynthia mcfadden brings us this encore report. ♪ >> reporter: it is death defying stunts that make spider-man one of the most anticipated broadway shows in recent memory. wh how fast are you going? >> about 45 miles an hour. >> reporter: bravo. as thrilling as it is to watch in the audience it's more fun to watch it up here. it's hard to believe he's back in the air performing the same stunts that temporarily shut the show down last year. he was in a life-threatening accident falling 30 feet below the stage. >> i broke three vertebrae, my skull, my scapula and elbow.
>> reporter: got some pretty good scars. >> yeah. >> reporter: can i see? >> oh, my gosh. wow. >> reporter: we were with him the day he came back to work months ahead of schedule. >> someone who represents the total spirit of this company. >> reporter: tierney's recovery seemed to go much faster than the show's. after five serious accidents delayed opening night six times, critics broke broadway protocol and published scathing reviews about it months before it opened ♪ the world should end >> reporter: so i've never read quite so horrific reviews. things like "the new york times" it may rank among the worst musical ever made "washington post," shrill, insipid. what did you think? >> things we were staying backstage. seriously. >> reporter: director jewel
mistaeconom would not agree. >> she got so close perhaps she couldn't see it. we were going at it and coming back and could see clearly what we thought were the problems and she didn't think they were as big a problem as we did. >> reporter: problems like this. a much ridiculed number featuring a stageful of giant spiders dancing in high heels. critics railed that the plot was unclear. the emotion muddled. >> a point like that you got to say, look, you are too close and this is -- we're rewasting more and more time and other people's money and have to stop now and fix this. >> reporter: julie was pushed out in march and declined to be interviewed for this story. producers brought in a new team to revamp the show. the cast and crew began working double duty. >> here we go.
♪ don't talk, just walk joet. >> reporter: rehearsing new songs and themes during the day. while performing at night. reef carney plays peter parker. >> our day is generally 10:00 to 6:00 in rehearsal. get back to the theater and warm up for the show at 8:00 so it's pretty much a 10:00 a.m. to midnight day every day at this point. >> reporter: they added more about peter parker, the relationships with his family. >> uncle ben. >> reporter: the love story. ♪ >> reporter: the things that made him a hero. ♪ >> if people leave the theater thinking what makes peter parker a superhero is his special power, i think we failed. because i think what makes peter parker a superhero is his
personal integrity, something about him, a guy from queens, a new yorker who puts people first and that's the essence of this story. >> reporter: they removed some minor characters, added a new song. ♪ >> reporter: and when it re-opened in previews spider-man 2.0 got a standing ovation. backstage the cast was ecstatic. >> oh, yeah. >> oh! >> super, super, whoa. that had to feel good. >> that was our first preview of this version and we're going to keep working and making it better and better and better but that was a real victory for us tonight. >> reporter: is it fixed? >> good question. it's on the way to being fixed is what we would say. the important things have been fixed and now the details. >> 80%. >> reporter: 80%. >> yeah, and the last 20% comes
in the weeks ahead. it'll be ready for opening night. i'm sure of that. >> reporter: so was he right? matt damon was there for the opening so was cindy crawford. liam nissen and steve martin gave each other a hug and that's the back of president clinton's head. >> i thought it was fabulous. >> reporter: the first reviews came out, they were harsh. a mroeted monster, an extravaganza without a single genuine showstopper and "the new york times" said "no longer the ungodly indecipherable mess it was in february, it's just a bore" but audiences often defy critics and spidey's beaten many adversaries armed with more than mere opinions. >> thanks to cynthia for that report on spider-man. next up, would you strap your toddler to a sheep for sport? we're going to go inside the rough and tumble world of mutton busting.
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so you want your toddler to play for the yankees? put him in t-ball. visions of the olympics, get that girl some ice skates but what if you or your offspring really love rodeo? as neal karlinsky explains you sign a waferer, buy a helmet and find some sheep. ♪ >> reporter: of all the things you can do with atoddler, this may be the weirdest. it's called mutton busting and it's about as simple as it is obscure. >> welcome to the fair. >> reporter: take any willing kid 6 and under, put them on the back of a live sheep and see how long they can hang on. the combination of hockey helmeted kids frantic sheep plus
a healthy dose of dirt and tears. makes for a particularly strange form of entertainment. even the pep talks are a little sketchy. this mom is as nervous as her daughter. >> hold on with your legs. >> i'm kind of scared. >> me too. i'm a little more nervous than she is. it's a little fall but hopefully it's a little fall. >> reporter: kyra is about to send her sweet little girl into battle. what's your gear? you got the hockey helmet and sandals. >> yeah. >> reporter: all right. >> we weren't planning on mutton busting. >> reporter: wouldn't you know it? little ellaoe ellaoned that sh had one of the best rides of the day and that's saying something because as we watched toddler after toddler after toddler wound up face down in a pile of dirt most with the same stunned
expression. this little girl lost a shoe. >> you did it. >> that's what the real cowboys do. >> reporter: tommy giadone is the man behind it. >> i'm like thomas edison. he invented the light bulb but ge made it better. we have four arenas giving the kids times of their lives. here we go. come on. >> reporter: tommy travels the country putting on these shows and says he'll launch 10,000 kids into the ring alone. up from 2,500 a few years ago. you're on the road, you and your sheep. >> yeah, me and the girls. >> reporter: he talks like he's been hanging around sheep a little too long. >> it's the toughest sport on
wolf. no fluff is too tough. we're the muttening mafia. nobody messes with us. >> reporter: we didn't witness any injuries but the sport is clearly not without risk. so why do it? worried at all? >> about? >> reporter: safety? >> no, kids heal. there's no point in overprotecting them and raising a bunch of sissies. they need to be boys. >> reporter: dylan had the white knuckled grip of a champion just sheer grip and determination. is that fun or is that scary? >> yeah, it's fun. >> reporter: it was fun. what was your secret? how did you hang on so long? >> hold on tight. >> reporter: hold on tight. words to live by from a 5-year-old mutton buster where tears bring glory. neal karlinsky for "nightline" in washington. >> ah, the toughest sport on wolf. check in for "good morning